Glassdoor reported that the median base pay for full-time workers in the US increased to $52,748 per year in March 2019, up 1.4% from March 2018. The economic outlook for 2019 got off to a bad start with the record-breaking government shutdown over the holidays causing uncertainty.
But the market has managed to bounce back and remain strong, with increasing labor force participation and hiring showing no signs of stopping. Low wage jobs are continuing to experience the highest wage growth, such as bartender (13.5%), pharmacy technician (7.2%) and bank teller (6.2%).
It’s become common for low wage jobs to see more growth than high wage jobs because of the recent changes in US minimum wage. There were increases in almost 21 states and Washington D.C. in 2018 and 2019 to support low paid laborers. Still, roles like barista, restaurant cook, server and bartender are steadily among the lowest paid available.
Daniel Zhao, Economist at Glassdoor, said “With spring break season in full swing, we have good news for bartenders: our data shows that March saw astounding double-digit pay growth for the profession.”
“Bartending, while generally viewed as an accessible job with potential for higher pay from tips, requires a skill set that many other lower-wage jobs don’t - heavy reliance on customer service, fantastic communication skills, and of course the ability to make a great drink.”
The regions seeing the biggest pay growth are consistently large cities, with San Francisco topping the list (up 2.5%). Its high cost of living, volatile real estate market and major hub for tech roles cause it to outpace more populated cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Washington DC and Boston also saw solid pay growth last month, up 2.1% and 2%, respectively.